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Cal Fire to hand over Valley Center stations to San Pasqual fire department Sunday



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August 28, 2013
The VC Fire Protection District and San Pasqual Tribal Fire Department promise that the average resident won't notice when Cal Fire hands over the running of fire Stations 72 and 73 on Sunday, Sept. 1. From the sound of things, the firefighters themselves will barely notice the transition.

There will be no ceremony when Cal Fire, which has administered the VC Fire Dept. for more than 30 years, clocks out at 8 a.m. at both stations and tribal firefighters clock in. No equipment will change hands.

Thereafter, the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indian's Fire Department will provide those services to the district utilizing tribal company officer-level personnel to the district at Stations 72 and 73 augmented with District reserve firefighters. VC's fire chief will be Harold Rodriguez, the current tribal fire chief.

The tribal fire department will provide chiefs and engineers to oversee Valley Center reserve firefighters, who will continue to provide the bulk of those answering fire calls in the VC.

In June when the VC Fire Board voted unanimously to contract with the tribal fire department, for much less money than it currently pays Cal Fire, officials of all three agencies promised a smooth transition. A transition team with people from VCFPD, the tribal department and Cal Fire has been meeting regularly to make the changeover as smooth as possible.

VC Fire District Administrator John Bryne told The Roadrunner, "So far everything is going according to schedule." During the two-month transition period nothing unexpected has come up, he said. "We have an ops committee that has been meeting on Tuesday mornings. We have a transition committee that has two board members in it and representatives of Cal Fire and others who have also been meeting."

Bryne added, "At this stage there haven't been any items come up that are in the ranks of unexpected or unusual. It's been going along very well. People won't notice any change. That's the goal."

VC fireboard President Weaver Simonsen told The Roadrunner, "Valley Center is most fortunate to have such good neighbors as San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians who stepped forward to partner with us in our time of financial need. In addition, the community should recognize the excellent professional service Cal Fire has provide through the years and will continue to serve our community for many years to come from Station 71. The community should note that all parties have worked together to ensure a transition that will not impact the delivery of fire service to the community. Our fire department staff, directors Phil Bell, and Jim Wold, San Pasqual's Chief Rodriguez and Cal Fire's Chief Williamson have (all) put in many hours to ensure a successful transition."

Questions? Call the fire district at 760-751-7600.

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